Up to now, music-streaming service Spotify has more than proved its worth as an instant solution when a particular song just pops into your head. Last night this Craver used the expression "not to put too fine a point on it" and had to dash to Spotify for an instant fix of They Might Be Giants. Impromptu playlist-swapping, aided by Spotify's recent addition of direct-to-Twitter link-sharing (right-click > Share to), has taken off, but until it sorts out recommendations, Spotify is still beaten into a cocked hat by CNET UK's sister site Last.fm -- or even that good ol' fashioned ol' timey radio -- for music discovery.
We Are Hunted monitors the mainstream press, blogs, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Last.fm, iLike, BitTorrent, LimeWire and more to create a chart for each of these sources. It then shakes, rinses and repeats with its own analysis to create the overall chart. This analysis includes sentiment detection to work out whether people like or dislike a track, semantic analysis to understand who people are talking about, clustering and classification to group related artists, and network analysis to uncover the connections between artists and the people who write about them. Strewth!
The result is a playlist that's constantly updated. The We Are Hunted playlist (Spotify link) updates every ten minutes, even faster than its own Web site, which requires human monitoring to add images for each artist.
It seems it's quite a versatile technology, too: the engine now provides aggregation, search and semantic analysis under the bonnet of Macquarie Bank's new share-trading platform. Try not to break the economy, eh fellas?
We've also had the chance to see what all the fuss is about with Jack White's Dead Weather and up-and-comers such as The xx. But because the list feeds off the blogosphere, there's plenty of nostalgia trips too, with Michael Jackson yet to -- ahem -- beat it.